Which is freer:
- to check your social media accounts any time you feel like it, or to do so at a single, designated time each day, and with a timer set to ten minutes or less?
- to give yourself an unlimited amount of time to read the professional development books on your shelf, or to give yourself an hour to read just one, gaining as much as you can in sixty minutes?
- to allow yourself to watch any TV show or movie you’d like, any night of the week, or to limit yourself to watching things only one night a week, and the other nights after the kids are in bed you read or you talk to a real person?
- to keep your classroom open at all times of the school day and to welcome every student in at any time, or to only have your door open at select times, and to make those times when your task is just to connect with or tutor or mentor visitors?
Often, I find that the path to real freedom is marked by purposeful restrictions, not “blank check” permissions. When I close my classroom door, I’m more loving when it’s open (and I’m a better teacher with a better curriculum when class is in session, and I’m able to stick to my fixed schedule). When my normal is not watching a show or movie, I come to do the things I really want to do (read the books on the shelves, talk with my wife) rather than the things I’m compelled to do.
When the good, enjoyable things in our lives become oppressive, unmanageable things, it might be time to rethink things.